Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
USA, 1986. Cinema ’85, Hemdale. Story by Elliott Lewit, Nicholas Kazan, Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan. Cinematography by Juan Ruiz Anchia. Produced by Don Guest, Elliott Lewitt. Music by Patrick Leonard. Production Design by Peter Jamison. Costume Design by Hilary Rosenfeld. Film Editing by Howard E. Smith.
Powerful drama that tells a dark tale while also addressing the lack of opportunities for America’s poor to escape their surroundings. Sean Penn grows up in the rural south with his brother (real-life brother Chris Penn) and mother (real-life mother Eileen Ryan), who has long since divorced their crime boss father (a terrifying Christopher Walken) and kept the boys safe from his milieu.
When Walken re-enters their life and wants to get to know his sons, the boys find the life of easy money and exciting criminal activity irresistible, but soon Penn begins to realize the consequences of his father’s actions and it starts to have repercussions in his own life. The film features a brooding atmosphere thanks to the efforts of director James Foley, compounded by a great musical score by Patrick Leonard and the phenomenal theme song “Live To Tell” by Madonna.
Berlin Film Festival: In Competition